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Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital Communications in the Workplace

There are plenty of digital communications tools to choose from including Twitter, email, instant messaging, dial-in conference calls, LinkedIn, SMS, and mobile and desk phones. Given the speed at which technology is evolving, the list is only bound to get longer.

When choosing the right communications tools or mobile device management solutions, you need to consider the type of task and communication itself. You also need to consider your location, whom you want to communicate with, whether you are working from your desk at the office, from a coffee shop, or on the move.

How to choose the best communication method for your business
Here are some great tips on how to choose the best communications tool for you, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type of digital communication tool.

Phone: Mobile or Desk phone? One-to-one

Advantages

Communicating via phone is ideal when discussing ideas or a subject at length. Phone communications tend to be more personal and allow you to express yourself more effectively and clarify points that can be otherwise misconstrued in other forms of communication. What’s more, you can engage in a social conversation before talking business and check on the other person. This can be very refreshing in this fast-paced world.

Disadvantages

Talking on the phone may not be suitable for a quick resolution. In addition, the other person may not be available and you are forced to leave a voicemail, and wait for them to return. Sometimes, you might want an answer or clarification but can’t physically make a call since the environment is too noisy or there is no good reception. Lastly, there is usually no evidence of the communication unless you record the phone call.

What about Email?

Advantages

Email allows for documenting and tracking conversations and activities as well as sending files to one or more people. You can manage your emails from your desktop or from your smartphone or iPad if on the move. It is perhaps the most used form of communication in business.

Disadvantages

It seems like everyone nowadays uses email for all kinds of communications even when it isn’t needed and this can end up clogging up your inbox. Some people tend to assume that email is real-time communication even though it isn’t.
Some people will include you in irrelevant email trails, which also floods your inbox. At times, you might have to wait for long periods of time for the other person to reply as it can be a mammoth task for them to go through their cluttered inbox.
Due to the rapid growth in the volume of emails, automatic filters have been introduced, for example, Clutter in Microsoft Outlook. However, this has brought about the risk of important emails getting filtered out causing the need to manage two inboxes.

Instant Messaging

Advantages

When it comes to instant messaging solutions, you are able to view your colleagues’ presence and availability and this is highly beneficial when an immediate response is required. Instead of blindly sending a message and awaiting a reply, you get to know when they are busy and when they are available to give quick assistance.

Disadvantages

At times, people will disregard the busy notice and send messages that ping and interrupt you while working or on a meeting. The best option is to make use of the Do Not Disturb option since this conversation won’t get sent.

Text Messages

Advantages

Ideal for quick answers and messages while on the move. After all, everyone is always eager to check their phones whenever a message comes through.

Disadvantages

Sometimes people do not remember to reply.

Video Conferencing

Advantages

It allows you to communicate with another person or group of people in another location without the need for travelling. In addition, you can see their facial expression, making it easy to read their reactions.

Disadvantages

It requires adequate user training and video conferencing equipment. Not everyone feels comfortable using video even though millennials seem to fully appreciate this technology. So, it can be helpful to ask for assistance and tips from your digitally proficient co-workers.